In recent years, jobs have been harder to come by for people with disabilities. The COVID-19 epidemic has made jobs even more challenging to find and maintain. Disability is a complicated topic that often goes ignored in the workforce. This article will discuss how COVID-19 has affected disabled jobseekers and why it is so important that we address disabled access to the workplace now more than ever.
Barriers to employment
People with disabilities often face barriers to employment due to widespread ignorance and ableist discrimination from employers. Employers are often unwilling to accommodate different types of jobs for people with disabilities. Better awareness is needed to support jobseekers with disabilities and create inclusive work environments for all. It’s important to understand your rights if you are a disabled jobseeker to ensure that your employer legally complies with the Equality Act. This could help limit opportunities for workplace discrimination.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these barriers and made it even harder for people with disabilities to find suitable employment, particularly because jobs have become scarcer and more competitive.
Pre-existing conditions and COVID-19
While managing a disability can be challenging on its own, contracting coronavirus when you have a disability has been found to exacerbate pre-existing conditions. A recent study found that severe COVID-19 affected 33% of people with disabilities, compared to 22% without a disability (ONS, 2021). Therefore, people with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, which may further inhibit their access to work.
The psychological implications of frequent lockdowns have also been severe for people with disabilities. The stress caused by intermittent access to work, childcare, and other necessary services has been particularly challenging for disabled people. This stress is amplified by the limited mental health support available to the community. Disabled people are already marginalized in society, and lockdowns have only exacerbated this isolation. Furthermore, COVID-19 can cause communication difficulties and social anxiety, both of which make maintaining jobs difficult.
Due to the severe financial impact that COVID-19 had on businesses in the UK, widespread unemployment swept the nation with few opportunities for new employment. This was especially difficult for disabled jobseekers, as jobs that once were accessible became out of reach and disabled people found themselves being passed over for jobs favouring able-bodied workers.
As the pandemic continues to progress, many companies have moved operations online. This may provide more accessible opportunities for people who can thrive working in remote conditions. However, there is still a large proportion of people who remain excluded from work due to the ongoing pandemic—for example, those who work in retail, air transport, and hospitality in the UK. Additionally, some people with disabilities cannot work remotely and require in-person connections to work. This has meant that for the duration of the pandemic, they have been excluded from work entirely.
To conclude this article, we want to emphasize that jobs for people with disabilities are increasingly hard to come by in the current economic climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has made access to jobs more difficult, and we still have a long way to go before equal opportunities exist for disabled jobseekers. However, with resources like Careers with Disabilities, disabled job seekers can understand their rights and browse inclusive job opportunities.